Review: Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

May 19, 2010 blog tour, Crime Fiction, Harper Collins Publishers, Mystery/Suspense, Review, Thriller 12


  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN: 978-0-06-168934-5
  • Source: Publisher

    Four young friends from Sexton College in Vermont formed a group called the Compassionate Dismantlers.  The motto of the Dismantlers was: ” To understand the nature of a thing, it must be taken apart.”  The leader of the group is Suz, whose main motivation is revenge.

    They spent a summer in a remote cabin with Suz plotting crazy pranks and seemingly innocent acts of destruction. Suddenly, Suz’s plans become much more violent and Suz is killed. The group breaks up, vowing not to speak of the incident, and they go live their own lives. 

    A decade later two of the members, Henry DeForge and Tess Kahle, have married and now have a nine year-old daughter, Emma.  Their marriage is in a shambles and Henry has moved into the garage apartment.  Emma and a friend are determined to get Emma’s parents back together. They come across evidence of the couple’s past. Believing that reuniting the group of friends will bring the couple back together, they  decide to send postcards to those individuals who played such a key part in their lives.

    Soon after Henry and Tess learn that one of their friends has committed suicide. They fear what happened ten years ago has been revealed and is beginning to haunt them.  A private investigator has been hired by the family of the suicide victim and begins snooping around, asking a lot of questions.

    Young Emma plays a very key role in this story.  She has an imaginary friend named Danner, who starts making comments and asking questions that remind Henry and Tess of Suz and that tragic summer long ago. They soon feel like they are being watched.  Is it possible that Suz has returned from the grave to make them pay for what happened so long ago?

    McMahon weaves a very intriguing tale in Dismantled, a character-driven thriller told from the point of view of several of the  main characters. She weaves the past with the present in a very fluid manner.   The several plot twists keep the reader engaged, not knowing what to expect with each turn of the page.   I warn you, this one is addictive, forcing me to stay up late at night to finish reading it.  I’m quite a fan of psychological thrillers, those seem to be the only type that really spook me.  Mcmahon wove bits of suspense in with the supernatural. I found myself turning on all the lights in the house, jumping at every little sound I heard. This book got to me…in a very good way.  Highly recommend to fans of literary thrillers.

    About Jennifer McMahon

    I was born in 1968 and grew up in my grandmother’s house in suburban Connecticut, where I was convinced a ghost named Virgil lived in the attic. I wrote my first short story in third grade. I graduated with a BA from Goddard College in 1991 and then studied poetry for a year in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College.

    A poem turned into a story, which turned into a novel, and I decided to take some time to think about whether I wanted to write poetry or fiction. After bouncing around the country, I wound up back in Vermont, living in a cabin with no electricity, running water, or phone with my partner, Drea, while we built our own house. Over the years, I have been a house painter, farm worker, paste-up artist, Easter Bunny, pizza delivery person, homeless shelter staff member, and counselor for adults and kids with mental illness—I quit my last real job in 2000 to work on writing full-time. In 2004, I gave birth to our daughter, Zella. In 2005, we left the woods (for now), and moved to Barre, Vermont—producer of one-third of all the granite gravestones and mausoleums in the US.

    My first novel, Promise Not to Tell, was published in 2007. The follow-up, Island of Lost Girls, was published in 2008, as was my debut young adult novel My Tiki Girl.

    Visit Jennifer at her website,, and friend her on MySpace!  If you are attending BEA, McMahon will be signing copies of Dismantled, Thursday, May 27 from 3-3:30 PM at Table 20!

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to take part in this tour.  Be sure to check out the other stops:

    Tuesday, May 18th:  Rundpine

    Thursday, May 20th:  Luxury Reading

    Tuesday, May 25th:  The Cajun Book Lady

    Thursday, May 27th:  Lit and Life

    Monday, May 31st:  I’m Booking It

    Tuesday, June 1st:  Drey’s Library

    Wednesday, June 2ed:

    Thursday, June 3rd:  Chick With Books

    Monday, June 7th:  Regular Rumination

    Wednesday, June 9th:  Booksie’s Blog

    Thursday, June 10th:  Take Me Away

    12 Responses to “Review: Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon”

    1. Becky
      Twitter: BeckyLeJeune

      I’ve loved McMahon’s previous books. Funny thing was, when I finally found a copy of Promise Not to Tell, my uncle called me week later and said he’d found this fantastic book and he was going to send it to me because I NEEDED to read it. It was Promise Not to Tell!

    2. Pam
      Twitter: bookaliciouspam

      I am starting this tomorrow. It looks like I may like it!

    3. bermudaonion (Kathy)

      Sounds like a book for me! I know the cover is just a picture of a young girl, but it really gives me a feel for what the book might be like.

    4. Jen-Girls Gone Reading
      Twitter: girlsgonereadin

      This is the perfect review for me today. I am looking for another great YA book to put together with The Maze Runner. Thanks for the suggestion.

    5. diane

      I liked this one, but enjoyed some of her other books a bit more. Glad you liked Dismantled.

    6. Rabid
      Twitter: wagthefox

      I remember reading a review or two of this book earlier in the year and thinking it sounded like it had promise. I think your review has convinced me that I should check this one out for sure.

    7. Laura @ ImBookingIt
      Twitter: bookingit

      OK, I’m a bit behind on my blog reading! I was looking through the other tour stops for this book before posting my (already written) review. I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    8. trish

      OMG you turned on all the lights while reading this? I absolutely love literary thrillers because I can’t do anything supernatural. You’ve totally sold me on this book! Stoked you were on this tour!

    9. kayla

      how does suz dies? i got confused on that part..can someone help ?